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BALTIMORE — For six innings, Kyle Gibson was unhittable.

If it wasn’t so early in the season, and if Gibson hadn’t wasted so many pitches on walks, the Minnesota Twins right-hander might have been given the opportunity to finish what he started.

Gibson was forced to abandon his no-hit bid after the sixth, and the Baltimore Orioles didn’t get their first hit until the eighth inning in Minnesota’s 6-2 victory Saturday night.

The combined three-hitter enabled Minnesota to bounce back from an 11-inning, season-opening loss to Baltimore on Thursday.

Gibson (1-0) struck out six and walked five. Although the 30-year-old did not allow a runner past first base, manager Paul Molitor figured Gibson had labored enough after throwing 102 pitches just two games into the season on a cool night.

“We were trying to see how far we could take him,” Molitor said. “We didn’t want to go past 100 (pitches), 105 tops.”

The final batter Gibson faced was Trey Mancini, who hit a sinking liner to left field that a diving Eddie Rosario got his glove under. The ball popped into the air, and Rosario snagged it with his bare hand.

Ryan Pressly worked a perfect seventh and got two outs in the eighth before Jonathan Schoop grounded a single up the middle.

That ended Minnesota’s shot at the sixth no-hitter in franchise history, the first since Francisco Liriano beat the White Sox in 2011.

The way Gibson threw, he just might get another chance this season to go the distance in a no-hit bid.

“I saw all of his pitches and I think everybody else did too,” Mancini said. “He mixed them really well and kind of kept us off balance and he located, which is the most important thing a pitcher can do.”

Surprisingly, Gibson was disappointed with his performance.

“I don’t normally like walking five in a game,” he said. “It isn’t ideal, but I guess it was OK tonight. Not the kind of outing I’d like to have, but it worked out.”

Gabriel Moya gave up a double to Danny Valencia and a homer to Tim Beckham in the ninth.

Offensively, Minnesota hit three solo home runs off Andrew Cashner (0-1) in his Orioles debut.

Miguel Sano connected in the first inning, Jason Castro went deep leading off the third and Max Kepler made it 4-0 in the fourth with a drive to right field.

Signed as a free agent after spending the 2017 season with Texas, Cashner surrendered five runs, four earned, and six hits in five innings.

The right-hander allowed only 15 home runs in 166 2/3 innings last year and was second in the AL in fewest homers permitted over nine innings (0.89).

Pitching at Camden Yards, however, leaves little room for error.

“It’s frustrating,” Cashner said. “It’s a small park, but I feel those balls, if they go a couple inches in or a couple inches away, it’s an out.”


Gibson has won six straight decisions over nine starts since Aug. 17.

After starting the 2017 season 0-4, Gibson was sent to the minors. Since his recall on May 22, he has excelled.

“He made a change in his approach a little bit,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “Some things that he did when he went down last year, and came back, it really helped him in the second half and carried over in the spring.”


Twins: RHP Phil Hughes (left oblique strain) pitched four innings Saturday in a Triple-A spring training game. If he responds well, Hughes will likely pitch for Class A Fort Myers on April 5, manager Paul Molitor said.
Orioles: LHP Zach Britton ran Friday for the first time since undergoing surgery on his right Achilles tendon in December. “I feel good, feel normal,” he said Saturday. … DH Mark Trumbo (quad strain) will take batting practice in Florida on Monday and could appear in a spring training game on April 6. … RHP Alex Cobb threw four innings Friday in extended spring training. His debut with the Orioles will be around mid-April.


Twins: Jose Berrios, who went 14-8 for Minnesota last year, starts in Sunday’s series finale.

Orioles: Notorious slow-starter Kevin Gausman starts for Baltimore. The right-hander is 2/3 with a 5.88 ERA in 15 career appearances before May.

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We already ran down the top 100 prospects in baseball, so now it’s time go deeper by division, starting with the NL East. First up are the Braves, followed by the rest of the division.

To jump to the other teams, click here — Marlins | Mets | Phillies | Nationals

Editor’s note: Age is the player’s age as of July 1, 2018. Players with experience in foreign major leagues such as Japan’s NPB or Korea’s KBO — think Shohei Ohtani — are ineligible for these rankings.

Atlanta Braves

I’m fairly certain this is the first time a team’s entire top 10 has made my top 100. Atlanta can certainly draft themselves some pitchers.

1. Ronald Acuna, OF (ranked No. 1)
2. Kyle Wright, RHP (ranked No. 26)
3. Ian Anderson, RHP (ranked No. 48)
4. Luiz Gohara, LHP (ranked No. 50)
5. Cristian Pache, OF (ranked No. 57)
6. Michael Soroka, RHP (ranked No. 60)
7. Bryse Wilson, RHP (ranked No. 68)
8. Max Fried, LHP (ranked No. 77)
9. Touki Toussaint, RHP (ranked No. 90)
10. Joey Wentz, LHP (ranked No. 96)

Non-top 100 prospects


Kolby Allard (11) made the top 100 the past two offseasons but slipped off the list and behind several other pitchers in their system, as working every fifth day in pro ball has led to some regression in his stuff. He still has that plus curveball but is often in the upper 80s, just touching 92, without a big frame for a ton of projection. He still projects as a starter, but maybe a back-end guy or someone who pitches with above-average results over a shorter workload. Kyle Muller (12) pitched in extended spring training and then in Danville, both to manage his innings and to avoid a logjam in low-A. He’s still a horse with league-average upside, with now stuff but work to do on command. Patrick Weigel (13) would have almost certainly made the top 100 had he stayed healthy all year, but he had Tommy John surgery in late June and might miss all of 2018, although I’m hopeful he’ll pitch in the Arizona Fall League if all goes well.


Keith Law’s 2018 top 100 prospects — Nos. 50-1: Introducing tomorrow’s superstars
Who’s the next Jose Altuve or Mike Trout? What about the next Bryce Harper or Aaron Judge? Chances are you’ll find a new generation of breakout ballplayers as the list reaches No. 1.

Keith Law’s 2018 top 100 prospects – Nos. 100-51: Your team’s future starts here
From minor leaguers with major league hopes for the upcoming season to toolsy teenagers climbing through the farm system, who made the cut as we begin counting down baseball’s best prospects?
Austin Riley (14) cleaned up his body and improved his defense at third base by at least a full grade last year; he has raw power but slider bat speed that led to trouble his second time around high-A last summer. Lefty AJ Minter (15) has a devastating one-two punch in his fastball and slider/cutter, with tremendous strikeout rates in the minors when he’s healthy. He had Tommy John surgery in 2015, missed time last spring because of irritation in the same elbow, and then hit the DL because of a groin injury in April. He could be a top-shelf reliever if he can stay on the mound, but his track record there is spotty.

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What will the year 2077 remember about the 2017 baseball season?

Yesterday, we analyzed the most remembered events, people, stories and statistics of Major League Baseball’s past 114 years for clues to help answer this question. It can be hard to anticipate what will survive, with only some correlation between sports-page coverage and future interest. We identified seven categories — plus subcategories! — of events that are particularly durable. Now we’ll overlay the 2017 season onto these categories so we can speculate responsibly.

1. Incredible achievement, usually captured by a single number or concept
Aaron Judge’s 52 homers as a rookie were a record, and records tend to be remembered for as long as they remain records. Judge’s season wasn’t just a statistical achievement, though. It was an aesthetic masterpiece, with his size and strength and effortless power interacting with the juiced ball, the proliferation of Statcast fun facts and the Yankees’ dramatic postseason run to define the season. It had a lot in common with Mark McGwire’s rookie season — 49 homers for an ascendant team during the rabbit-ball 1987 season — and that season is very well remembered. Judge’s — much more than, say, Cody Bellinger’s — will be, too. That is, unless somebody hits 53 homers as a rookie in the next six decades.

This is a good first pick.

The Year That …
Sam Miller looks back through the lens of history at the stories, teams, players and plays that made the biggest mark on MLB in each season since 1903. The list »
1b. Incredible team (often captured by a nickname)
Cleveland won 22 games in a row, which is … sort of a record. It’s unambiguously the American League record, though league records don’t have much cache now that the leagues are barely distinct from each other. To people who discount the 1916 Giants’ 26-game win streak — because there was a game in the middle of it that ended (due to rain and darkness) in a tie — it might even be the record. But those people have not yet won the argument, which is why one year ago, I couldn’t have told you who held the non-Giants-because-there-was-one-tie record for longest win streak. (It was the 1935 Cubs.) Therefore, we must conclude that the Indians too will likely be mostly forgotten, despite winning 22 games in a row, which is, in fairness, a lot.

(A colorful team nickname is extraordinarily important to being remembered as a team. I did not know about the 1935 Cubs, but I do know about the 1934 Cardinals, who were worse and set no records but were called the Gashouse Gang. Everybody knows the Gashouse Gang!)

We’ll get to the champion Astros in a minute.

1c. Incredible single play or sequence of plays, often aided by iconic photo or video images
Jose Altuve’s three-homer game to kick off the American League Division Series is a dark horse. Three-homer games in the postseason used to be almost automatic immortality, but more postseason rounds and more homers have made these games more common. (There have been as many since 2010 — five — as there were in the entire 20th century.) But Altuve’s is a better bet to survive than Enrique Hernandez’s because the Astros went on to win the World Series and because Altuve did it in an MVP season. Still, it’s doubtful.

On the other hand, I don’t believe I’ve ever seen anything like the 2017 Home Run Derby — and especially what Judge did in it, effortlessly cranking opposite-field homers and the occasional 500-foot blast while his peers giggled and shrieked. The question is whether this is simply a format that players have finally conquered — Justin Bour hit 22 in a round, for goodness’ sake, whereas there were five homers hit in the entire 1990 contest — in which case next year’s might top it. If not, I could see watching the 2017 Home Run Derby (condensed and commercial-free, of course) every year on the first morning of the All-Star break. In fact, I foresee myself watching it … right now. BRB.

2. The moment the timeline begins
Nominations for this category are almost always impossible to see in the moment. I doubt anybody in the early 1900s thought Fenway and Wrigley would survive a century — or perhaps even that Major League Baseball would. Meg Rowley, of Baseball Prospectus, suggested to me that in 60 years we might remember 2017 as the year the players’ association started to die because (to some observers) the union conceded too much in the new collective bargaining agreement. But of course, 2017 saw only one small step toward one possible future for the union, and assessing what the players got or conceded in this CBA is itself impossible without years of retrospection and analysis. Which is to say, I like Rowley’s suggestion. It’s a creative and insightful suggestion, but we’re mostly skipping this category.

3. Bloopers and/or extraordinary failures
Here’s my sleeper: Austin Jackson not running out the dropped third strike of the American League Championship Series. Watch:
Gary Sanchez could have simply tagged him to complete the out, but instead he stuffed the ball in his pocket and ran out to the mound. Here’s the rule:

Rule 6.09(b) Comment: A batter who does not realize his situation on a third strike not caught, and who is not in the process of running to first base, shall be declared out once he leaves the dirt circle surrounding home plate.
Jackson does not do that until Sanchez is already to the mound. Theoretically, even after Sanchez had abandoned the play, Jackson could have still run to first. See Todd Frazier, the Yankees’ third baseman, pointing toward Jackson, acknowledging this risk. Sanchez would have had to take the ball back out of his pocket and tag or throw him out. A tag, let’s assume, would have been impossible at that point. Note that the Yankees’ first baseman, Greg Bird, doesn’t appear in the first shots of the celebration, so perhaps he stayed near the bag just in case.


Just how giant is Home Run Derby champion Aaron Judge?
We stacked some of this year’s MLB All-Stars — as well as some recognizable names from the NFL and NBA — against the Yankees’ 6-foot-7, 282-pound rookie right fielder.

The good, the bad … and the Giants: Ranking all 30 teams based on their 2017 goals
Your favorite team didn’t need to win the World Series to have a successful season (though it certainly helps). Here’s how each MLB club succeeded — or failed — this year, on its own terms.

‘Skunk in the outfield’: How the most epic trick play in history broke baseball
For 2 minutes, 32 seconds of pure chaos, a high school state championship game in Rhode Island entered a parallel universe — and unleashed the longest hardball stalemate of all time.
If Jackson had started running, would Sanchez have noticed in time to throw him out? If not, would the plate umpire have allowed it, or would he have declared that the play was already over? If he allowed it, would the Indians have completed a comeback against Aroldis Chapman? If they had, would the Indians have snapped their long World Series drought? If they had, would this have gone down, along with Mickey Owen’s disastrous dropped third strike in the 1941 World Series, as an obit-leading blunder on Sanchez’s part? Maybe the answer is no, to any or all of those questions. But the point is this is exactly the sort of play that doesn’t seem that big in the moment — it was barely noticed anywhere, wasn’t mentioned on the broadcast, got a short write-up by Indians beat writer Paul Hoynes — but has the potential to pick up intrigue decades later, when the principal actors get old and forgetful and the fundamental mysteries of the play become unsolvable. That’s especially true if Cleveland’s World Series drought stretches past a century. The Billy Goat wasn’t a big thing in Chicago until decades afterward.

It’s probably not going to be this play. But I could 100 percent imagine it.

4. Pathos
There are no 2017 nominations for this category.

5. Disruption of baseball’s basic equilibrium
The juiced-ball timeline, if you haven’t been quite clear on it, is this: Around the All-Star break in 2015, home run rates suddenly shot up, almost literally overnight. The evidence, from both writers and physicists, suggests that the spike is consistent with subtle (and perhaps unintentional) changes to the seam heights on major league baseballs. (Flatter seams lead to less air resistance and more carry.) But home run rates kept going up even after that, perhaps because hitters were tailoring their swings and approaches to an environment in which fly balls were more valuable. In 2017, a record 2.52 home runs were hit per game, a 9 percent increase over 2016, which had seen a 15 percent increase over 2015, which had seen a 17 percent increase over 2014. There were a record 25 homers hit in the 2017 World Series. There were eight home runs hit in one WS game and seven in another, compared to just six in the entire 2014 World Series.

But whether we remember 2017 as the juiced-ball year depends on whether things go back to normal in 2018. If they don’t, then 2015 — as the start of the home run timeline — will probably be remembered as the change year, and some future season in which even more home runs get hit will be remembered as the peak Year Of The Dinger. However, if the seams rise slightly and home runs dip by 20 percent next season, 2017 will be remembered as the year it reached absurdity, and decades of future fun facts will end with “… since 2017.” As in: “Scooter Cloddywomp homered three times against the Giants on Tuesday night. That’s the most home runs by a Scooter in a single game since 2017.”

6. When the larger world intersects with baseball or vice versa
There are no 2017 nominations for this category.

7. By being weird, by being almost literally unbelievable or inexplicable
Crucially, things that are somewhat inexplicable sometimes become much more inexplicable with time. There’s a case here for the 2017 Astros, specifically as the fulfillment of the Sports Illustrated cover prophecy. As I wrote after Houston won the World Series, most of us are amused by the cover but recognize that it wasn’t an outlandish prediction. But in 60 years, to people who didn’t live through the #process, it could quite possibly take on the intrigue of ancient witchcraft. That’s especially true if the game’s economics change enough that the predictable teardown/rebuild cycle is no longer common or recognizable. Also, in 60 years, nobody might even know what a magazine cover is. “You mean it just showed up in people’s houses? Some stranger just dropped a prediction that the worst team in baseball would win the World Series exactly three years later? Spooooooky.”


But that’s not my nomination here. Rather, it’s this: The two best hitters in baseball were the shortest one and the tallest one. That is so weird, particularly because baseball is not a sport that naturally benefits short people or tall people. We all talk about it how short Altuve is and how tall Judge is; we talk about those things to death, and we still probably don’t talk about them enough. It is so, so weird. And it’s not weird in a deep, thought-provoking way. It’s weird in the way that can be captured in one picture, a picture you have already seen — 30 times? 40? In fact, it’s at the top of this article. It’s the one with Altuve and Judge standing next to each other at second base, one crazy moment in one wonderful image, and I don’t believe there will be even one baseball fan in the next six decades who doesn’t see it. The odds are that neither player will ever have a season as good as he just did. The odds are that this was the peak moment in extreme body outliers. And so that’s my answer: 2017, the year of that photo, the year of that MVP race, the year of that ALCS. It was the year not of Judge or Altuve, but of Judge and Altuve.

Thanks to Zachary Levine, Meg Rowley and Craig Goldstein for consultation.

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NEW YORK — The Los Angeles Dodgers will pay baseball’s highest luxury tax for the fourth straight year, and the New York Yankees owe a penalty for a 15th consecutive season, streaks that could end as the sport’s biggest spenders slash payroll for 2018.

The Dodgers owe $36.2 million, according to final figures compiled by the commissioner’s office and obtained by The Associated Press. That raises their five-year tax total to nearly $150 million.

New York was second at $15.7 million, its lowest amount since 2011, but a figure that increased its total amount paid since the tax began to $341 million. San Francisco was next at $4.1 million, followed by Detroit at almost $3.7 million and Washington — which is paying tax for the first time — at just under $1.45 million.


Olney: Dodgers, Braves both profit from creative, debt-defying deal
Braves GM Alex Anthopoulos struck a deal with the Dodgers that did more than fix the two teams’ payroll problems — it set up future moves for both.
The Dodgers and Yankees vow to get below next year’s tax threshold of $197 million. That would reset their base tax rate from 50 percent to 20 percent going into the 2018-19 offseason, when Bryce Harper, Manny Machado and possibly Clayton Kershaw head a potentially illustrious free-agent class.

“We know going in that the structure we have in place allows for flexibility for teams to make decisions in the near term and for the longer term,” players’ association head Tony Clark said Tuesday. “It is something obviously we watch, something that we’re very cognizant of.”

Los Angeles’ 2018 payroll for tax purposes currently projects to about $181 million and New York’s to $177 million.

“My goal is still to be under the threshold,” Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner said last week after the team acquired high-priced slugger Giancarlo Stanton from Miami in a trade. “Even with him added. We’re comfortably under the threshold with some more money to spend, whenever we deem we want to spend it.”

Additional surtaxes began this season: 12 percent on amounts $20 million to $40 million above the threshold and 45 percent on amounts over $40 million for repeat offenders. But there were special transition rules between the old and new labor contracts.

Starting next year, teams more than $40 million above the threshold would have their top amateur draft pick dropped back 10 slots — with the top six overall selections protected and the extra penalty applied to the second-highest pick of those teams.

Los Angeles lowered its regular payroll to $243.7 million from a record $291.1 million in 2015 and $254.9 million last year. For purposes of the tax, which uses average annual values and includes benefits, the Dodgers’ payroll was nearly $253.6 million, an increase of $2 million.

The Yankees’ regular payroll was second at $208.4 million, down from $224.5 million last year and their lowest since 2006. Detroit was third at $190.8 million after falling $8.5 million, and Boston fourth at $189.2 million after falling $11.3 million. San Francisco was fifth at $186.6 million, followed by the Chicago Cubs at $186.2 million.

World Series-champion Houston was 18th at $134.1 million, an increase of $30 million.

Other teams with big boosts included Washington (up $23 million to $179 million), Texas (up $20 million to $174.7 million), Colorado (up nearly $33 million to $142.7 million) and Cleveland (up nearly $36 million to $136.1 million).
The Chicago White Sox dropped by almost $37 million to $87.8 million and San Diego by nearly $26 million to $71.3 million.

Milwaukee, at $68.2 million, was last for the second straight season. Just above the Brewers were the Padres and Athletics at $76.3 million.

“We’re watching. We’ll continue to watch,” Clark said. “We have some concerns in some areas, which I won’t go into.”

Spending on 40-man major league payrolls totaled $4.24 billion, an increase of $164 million, down from a $186 million increase last year. Regular payrolls include 2017 salaries, earned bonuses and prorated shares of signing bonuses.

Luxury tax checks to the commissioner’s office are due by Jan. 21. The first $13 million of tax money is used to fund player benefits, and starting this year, 50 percent of the remainder will be used to fund player Individual Retirement Accounts. The other 50 percent of the remainder will be given to teams not over the tax threshold.

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With a clear hole at first base this offseason, the Boston Red Sox are considering several of the top available options at the position.

Rumor CentralThe Red Sox met with the representatives for free agent Logan Morrison on Monday, Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston reports. Also on Boston’s radar is Carlos Santana, whose agents will meet with the team during the GM meetings this week, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe tweets.

Boston president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski labeled the meetings with Santana and Morrison as “more information [than anything] so far at this time,” ESPN’s Scott Lauber notes.

Santana and Morrison rank fifth and 11th, respectively, in the Top 50 free agents of ESPN’s Keith Law. Between them is former Kansas City Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer (seventh), whom the Red Sox have also been linked to.

Santana, who has spent all eight of his major league seasons with the Cleveland Indians, slashed .259/.363/.455 with 23 home runs and 79 RBIs this year. The 31-year-old switch-hitter is known for his patience, leading the league in walks with 113 in 2014. The Indians extended a qualifying offer Santana’s way, so signing him will result in the forfeiting of a draft pick.

Morrison is coming off a career year with the Tampa Bay Rays, in which he hit .246 with 38 home runs and 85 RBIs. The 30-year-old also set career highs in walks and OBP.

Boston is one of several teams to also check in on fellow free-agent first baseman Lucas Duda, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports.

The Red Sox need a first baseman, with Mitch Moreland hitting the open market this winter. Boston’s first basemen posted a .749 OPS last season — the third-lowest mark in the majors. As a team, the Red Sox hit the fewest home runs in the American League (168).

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HOUSTON — The Houston Astros got another win on Sunday thanks to a new face and the return of a familiar one after a long absence.

Cameron Maybin hit a three-run homer, Carlos Correa drove in a run in his return from the disabled list and the Astros swept the New York Mets with an 8-6 victory.

George Springer homered for second straight day for Houston, and Josh Reddick added two hits and three RBI. The Astros began the series with a doubleheader sweep Saturday in their first home games since flooding from Hurricane Harvey devastated the city.

Manager A.J. Hinch said the team got a boost with Correa back in the lineup after the All-Star shortstop had been out since July 18 after surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left thumb.

“It’s a big lift for us; we just added one of the best players in baseball,” Hinch said. “That’s an exciting guy to get back in the middle of the order. There’s a presence about having a guy in the middle of the field.”

Houston trailed 4-1 before pushing across five runs in the third. Correa hit an RBI single and Reddick also singled in a run before Maybin connected for his first homer since he was claimed on waivers from the Los Angeles Angels on Thursday.

“These guys have been doing this all year so just to be able to come in and help … I’m looking forward to keeping this thing going,” he said. “It’s already been a fun two or three days.”

Springer led off the fourth with his career-best 31st homer, making it 7-4 Houston.

Will Harris (3-2) pitches a scoreless sixth for the win and Chris Devenski allowed one hit in two scoreless innings for his fourth save.

The Mets pulled within one with two runs in the fifth inning. Former Astros outfielder Nori Aoki, who signed with the Mets on Saturday, hit an RBI single and Tyler Clippard walked Brandon Nimmo with the bases loaded with two outs.

But Kevin Plawecki struck out to end the inning, and Houston added an insurance run when Jose Altuve scored on Reddick’s sacrifice fly in the seventh.

Mets starter Chris Flexen (3-4) allowed a career-high nine hits and matched a career high from his last start with seven runs in just four innings. Manager Terry Collins said they have been stressing to him the importance of getting ahead in counts.

“They’re too good of a hitting lineup to get into hitters’ counts,” Collins said. “You’ve got to be able to make a quality pitch with something other than the fastball.”

Houston right-hander Mike Fiers allowed seven hits and six runs in 4 1/3 innings in his second tough start after allowing eight runs in his last outing.


Mets: INF Wilmer Flores broke his nose on Saturday night when he fouled a ball off his face. Collins said they’ll know more about his injury after he visits a doctor in New York on Monday, but added that he doesn’t expect the injury to end his season. … Assistant general manager John Ricco told reporters this weekend that OF Michael Conforto will have surgery to repair a torn posterior capsule in his left shoulder sometime next week. Conforto was injured when he dislocated his shoulder on a swing on Aug. 24. … INF Amed Rosario is day to day with a bruised right index finger.

Astros: RHP Lance McCullers (back discomfort) will come off the disabled list to make his first start since July 30 on Wednesday at Seattle.

Houston first baseman Tyler White had two doubles on Sunday. Six of his 12 hits this season have gone for extra bases with three homers and three doubles.


Correa on how he felt to be back: “I felt like a child, it was so much fun. This is the game I love to play and to be out for … almost two months it was super boring.”


Mets: Rafael Montero (3-9, 5.12 ERA) will pitch for New York on Monday in the opener of a three-game series against the Phillies. Montero pitched 8 1/3 innings of three-hit ball in a 2-0 win over the Reds in his last start.

Astros: Ace Dallas Keuchel (11-3, 2.91 ERA) is scheduled to pitch in the opener of a series against the Mariners on Monday. He allowed six runs in six innings in an 8-1 loss to the Rangers in his last outing.

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MIAMI — All rise. Again, again and again. Aaron Judge lived up to the hype of his remarkable rookie campaign by slamming nearly four miles of home runs on Monday evening at Marlins Park, including four drives of more than 500 feet, crowning the Yankees’ slugger as the newest champion of the T-Mobile Home Run Derby.

Judge overcame 22 first-round blasts from Justin Bour of the Marlins and a dozen long balls from the Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger in the second. Judge slammed 11 homers in the finals to defeat Miguel Sano of the Twins, finishing with 1:53 still on the clock.
“I had no pressure going into it. I’m a rookie,” Judge said. “This is my first time doing it. For me, I’ve got no expectations. I’m just going to go in there and have some fun and see what we can do tonight. It was a blast. I enjoyed every minute of it — watching the other guys swing, coming here early and talking to the media. Everything about today was fantastic.”

An anticipated matchup between Judge and hometown hero Giancarlo Stanton of the Marlins never materialized, as last year’s champion was knocked out in the first round by Gary Sanchez, 17-16.
“I honestly didn’t think about [facing Stanton],” Judge said. “I was trying to get out of the first round.”
Judge wins 2017 HR Derby
Judge wins 2017 HR Derby
Aaron Judge makes his presence felt in Miami, launching 47 home runs en route to the 2017 T-Mobile Home Run Derby championship
• Sanchez stuns Stanton, but falls in Rd. 2
Judge was initially booed but won over the crowd of 37,027, hitting a total of 47 homers against just 29 “outs.” The first rookie to win the Derby outright (the Angels’ Wally Joyner was a co-champion in 1986), Judge hit 16 homers with exit velocities of 115 mph or harder, and to all fields of the ballpark.
Judge receives trophy from Torre
Judge receives trophy from Torre
MLB executive and former Yankees manager Joe Torre awards Aaron Judge the 2017 T-Mobile Home Run Derby title
“He’s so quiet and simple that he looks like a contact hitter trapped in an ogre’s body,” the Rockies’ Charlie Blackmon said. “I don’t know that the game has ever seen a power like that. Stanton has the most velocity, but I think Judge is going to be a really interesting career to follow.”
Statcast: Judge’s 500-ft. homers
Statcast: Judge’s 500-ft. homers
Statcast measures the hitting metrics on 2017 HR Derby champion Aaron Judge’s four longest homers, each flying over 500 feet before landing
And Judge faced a significant challenge before he even stepped to the plate, watching from the batting cage as Bour put 22 on the board. The 6-foot-7, 282-pound Judge responded with 23, including a 501-foot blast that cleared the home run sculpture in left-center field.
“Once Justin put on that show like that, I just had to go to work,” Judge said. “I was having fun out there and just had to go to work.”
Judge skies one into roof
Judge skies one into roof
Aaron Judge hammers a ball off the roof en route to his Round 1 win in the 2017 T-Mobile Home Run Derby
As he did in batting practice, Judge clipped the roof with a drive. Because it did not count, Judge was told he had only tied Bour with five seconds remaining. He easily cleared the center-field wall with his final swing.
“I think I still had the 30-second bonus left, so I really didn’t have any worries,” Judge said.
Judge faced a less daunting challenge in the second round, producing a baker’s dozen — including blasts of 501, 504 and 513 feet — before defeating Bellinger with a 507-foot drive to left field.
Judge caps off Round 2 win
Judge caps off Round 2 win
Aaron Judge takes Round 2 with a mammoth 507-foot home run to advance to the Finals in the 2017 T-Mobile Home Run Derby
The 507- and 513-foot drives are the two longest home runs ever tracked by Statcast™ — in the regular season, the postseason or past Home Run Derbies. Judge now has the four longest blasts tracked by Statcast™ in the Derby, and the only four Derby homers hit at least 500 feet.

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“I don’t know what to say,” Bellinger said. “What do you say after those balls?”
Both Judge and Sanchez opted to have their regular batting-practice pitcher, Danilo Valiente, toss to them in Miami. Judge said that the 51-year-old Valiente has a knack for finding the barrel of his bat.
“He’s a fantastic coach and a better person,” Judge said. “He’s always looking out for me. He goes the extra mile for anything. During the game I go down there and he’s doing soft toss, throwing me a little bit of BP during games. I am glad I was there with Danilo.”
Judge on 2017 Home Run Derby win
Judge on 2017 Home Run Derby win
Aaron Judge talks about taking home the trophy in the 2017 T-Mobile Home Run Derby at Marlins Park
Stacked end to end, Judge’s homers traveled 3.9 miles and would have enough distance to reach from home plate at Marlins Park into nearby Biscayne Bay.
“He’s an animal,” Sano said. “The first time I saw Aaron Judge hit BP, I could tell he was a monster.”
Judge’s 23 first-round homers marked the third-best round in Home Run Derby history, trailing only Josh Hamilton’s 28 in 2008 and Bobby Abreu’s 24 in 2005.
Even after the unforgettable display, Judge still appeared to have energy left in the tank, suggesting that he may already be ready to defend the title.
“I try to take everything one day at a time. That’s what’s helped me along this first half of the year,” Judge said. “I have had wonderful people help me out through the years. And I can’t thank them enough for where I’m at right now.”

Cheap Authentic MLB Felix Hernandez Jerseys

SEATTLE — A Mariners team that has turned things around with a strong June could get a further boost from the return of Felix Hernandez, as the veteran right-hander showed Friday in a 13-3 runaway win over the American League West-leading Astros in his first game off the disabled list.

Hernandez can’t take credit for the continued offensive outburst, but he certainly can provide another solid starter who is capable of taking advantage of that support now that he’s overcome a two-month bout with bursitis in his shoulder.
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“Oh my gosh, it’s a blast playing behind that guy,” said rookie left fielder Ben Gamel, who had a chance to perform directly in front of a rowdy King’s Court amid a crowd of 31,783. “The atmosphere and just everything he brings to the table, no doubt it’s a boost. Everyone they’ve called up has done an awesome job, but it’s huge having Felix back.”
Felix interacts with fans
Felix interacts with fans
King Felix takes some time to interact with Mariners fans from the dugout in his first game back from the disabled list
The 31-year-old has pitched much of his career without the kind of firepower the Mariners are putting on display, so it’s easy to understand the smile on Hernandez’s face after he was staked to a 7-1 lead after three innings and cruised to the win.
“It feels good,” Hernandez said. “King’s Court was unbelievable. The crowd was amazing. And the guys did a great job putting a lot of runs on the board. This lineup is pretty scary. It’s good to see.”
MLB Tonight on Felix’s return
MLB Tonight on Felix’s return
Harold Reynolds breaks down what he sees in Felix Hernandez’s first start since returning from the disabled list
Hernandez back on the hill was a welcome sight for a club that has survived much of the first three months with four of their starters on the disabled list. Now Hernandez joins James Paxton on the returnee list and the club also has gotten a boost from rookie Sam Gaviglio and now Andrew Moore following his first appearance Thursday.
“Guys know what he means for us and the long haul of the remainder of the season and how important it is to keep him healthy,” manager Scott Servais said. “We’re not looking for shutouts every time, just keep us in the ballgame, get deep, give us six innings and then we’re in pretty good shape. I trust our offense and we’re going to be able to score runs. It’s a boost just knowing he’s out there and can go deep into games.”
Zunino on big day, Felix
Zunino on big day, Felix
Mike Zunino discusses his big day at the plate, including his three-run homer, as well as the return of Felix Hernandez
The Astros have been an Achilles’ heel the past two years for Hernandez, who was 0-4 with an 11.15 ERA in four previous starts against Houston since 2015. Particularly troublesome has been Jose Altuve, who homered off Hernandez in the first inning and is batting .483 (14-for-29) in his career against the former Cy Young Award winner.
The Astros again hit the ball hard at times against Hernandez, as Alex Bregman added a solo homer in the fifth and four of their eight hits went for extra bases. But with the big early lead, Hernandez limited the damage and won his 157th career game in the process, which moved him past Freddy Garcia for the most victories by a Venezuelan-born pitcher in Major League history.
“It’s an honor to pass my really good friend,” Hernandez said of his former teammate.
And his current teammates were just as happy to see the King back where he belongs.
“That’s our guy,” said center fielder Jarrod Dyson. “He’s a competitor and he’s going to lay it all on the line. He did a great job for us tonight. It was good to see him out there and good to get some runs for him.”